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Looking for a DAP with a line out and expandable storage

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

I'm looking for a digital audio player that has a line out (by this I mean that the internal amp of the DAP is bypassed) and expandable storage.

 

This DAP will replace my iPod touch 4G 32GB and my budget is $400. Other aspects that are not absolutely necessary but would be nice to have include a smooth user interface, a touch screen, a long battery life, and good sound and build quality.

 

I am leaning towards the Sony F887 64GB (but it doesn't have a microSD slot) and the Cowon J3 16GB (but it doesn't have a line out).

 

Any recommendations would be much appreciated.

post #2 of 9
You might look into the Fiio X5. I think it's supposed to be released soon (this month). Maybe it has a line out: http://www.head-fi.org/t/661411/fiio-x5-thread-info-updated-on-jan-17th-2014
post #3 of 9
Quote:

Originally Posted by floeezy View Post

 

This DAP will replace my iPod touch 4G 32GB and my budget is $400. Other aspects that are not absolutely necessary but would be nice to have include a smooth user interface, a touch screen, a long battery life, and good sound and build quality.

 

I am leaning towards the Sony F887 64GB (but it doesn't have a microSD slot) and the Cowon J3 16GB (but it doesn't have a line out).

 

I don't think any DAP exists that fits into all the criterias mentioned. Just a round-up:
 

1. Ibasso DX50 - $250, has a lineout, touchscreen, UI is never smooth enough for anyone coming from iTunes and actually liked that instead of drag-n-drop+manually checking tags

 

2. Fiio X3 - $200, has a lineout, no touchscreen, UI is never smooth enough for anyone coming from iTunes and actually liked that instead of drag-n-drop+manually checking tags

 

3. Ibasso DX100 - has a lineout, touchscreen, runs off an older Android OS, $900, UI is never smooth enough for anyone coming from iTunes and actually liked that instead of drag-n-drop+manually checking tags

 

Upcoming DAPs:

4. Ibasso DX90 - around $400, has a lineout, has a touchscreen, regardless of how well they do on the UI this time it will still never be smooth enough for anyone who enjoyed iTunes

 

5. Fiio X5 - around $350, has a lineout, not sure about touchscreen, regardless of how well they do on the UI this time it will still never be smooth enough for anyone who enjoyed iTunes

 

------

 

You might better off just getting  DAC that can take the digital signal out of your iDevice if all you need is a better DAC and output stage (maybe also the headphone amp in the same device), even if you'd have to save a bit more money for it and then will have to deal with something strapped onto the iPod Touch.

post #4 of 9
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the suggestions cel4145 and ProtegeManiac. My number one priority for my next DAP is having expandable storage since I do not have enough room on my iPod Touch. The DX90 looks very promising, so I will keep a look out on that one. The X5 looks good as well; however, the sturdiness of the click-wheel seems questionable and the UI seems to be hard to navigate. Then again, a smooth UI is a nice bonus and not a necessity.

post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 

Also, I forgot to say that I already have a Fiio E12 that I hook my iPod touch to, hence the need for a clean line-out.

post #6 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by floeezy View Post
 

I'm looking for a digital audio player that has a line out (by this I mean that the internal amp of the DAP is bypassed) and expandable storage.

This DAP will replace my iPod touch 4G 32GB and my budget is $400. Other aspects that are not absolutely necessary but would be nice to have include a smooth user interface, a touch screen, a long battery life, and good sound and build quality.

I am leaning towards the Sony F887 64GB (but it doesn't have a microSD slot) and the Cowon J3 16GB (but it doesn't have a line out).

Any recommendations would be much appreciated.

 

You might consider checking out the website Anythingbutipod

post #7 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by floeezy View Post
 

Thanks for the suggestions cel4145 and ProtegeManiac. My number one priority for my next DAP is having expandable storage since I do not have enough room on my iPod Touch. The DX90 looks very promising, so I will keep a look out on that one. The X5 looks good as well; however, the sturdiness of the click-wheel seems questionable and the UI seems to be hard to navigate. Then again, a smooth UI is a nice bonus and not a necessity.

 

I don't see why the click wheel's quality is questionable as neither of us have held it in our hands to see how well made it is (or not). I still caution you on getting a non-Apple DAP considering how many people end up there ranting about manual file management, given I also personally know people who question why I want to drag and drop in Explorer instead of hitting a "sync now" button (and then I have no idea what it'll do when not every audio file in the computer fits in that device).

 

If expandable storage is your primary concern and you're not averse to strapping an amp on it anyway, why not just get a wireless drive? Kingston has some 64gb thumb-drive sized units, and Seagate has a 500gb 2.5" wireless HDD. If you're using iTunes as a player anyway setting up for wireless streaming shouldn't be too difficult; I think these already work with FLAC-compatible player apps.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by floeezy View Post
 

Also, I forgot to say that I already have a Fiio E12 that I hook my iPod touch to, hence the need for a clean line-out.

 

If you do get something like the DX90, note that this together with the E12 will be very thick compared to the Touch and E12, however, as much as they equip these players with a true line out, this will really be for using them with a headphone that can't be driven by the internal amp. I've tried the X3 with the Q701 for example (and the 700 series tend to be picky with amps, although the Q's tipped up bass response makes that seem less of a problem) and the sound was great for a player that small. It's no Burson or Heed amplifier, but then again, there are very few portable amps that come anywhere near these.

post #8 of 9
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post
 

 

You might consider checking out the website Anythingbutipod

 

I used to frequent that site before I decided to get an iPod touch. Unfortunately, it hasn't seen much activity recently.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ProtegeManiac View Post
 

 

I don't see why the click wheel's quality is questionable as neither of us have held it in our hands to see how well made it is (or not). I still caution you on getting a non-Apple DAP considering how many people end up there ranting about manual file management, given I also personally know people who question why I want to drag and drop in Explorer instead of hitting a "sync now" button (and then I have no idea what it'll do when not every audio file in the computer fits in that device).

 

If expandable storage is your primary concern and you're not averse to strapping an amp on it anyway, why not just get a wireless drive? Kingston has some 64gb thumb-drive sized units, and Seagate has a 500gb 2.5" wireless HDD. If you're using iTunes as a player anyway setting up for wireless streaming shouldn't be too difficult; I think these already work with FLAC-compatible player apps.

 

 

If you do get something like the DX90, note that this together with the E12 will be very thick compared to the Touch and E12, however, as much as they equip these players with a true line out, this will really be for using them with a headphone that can't be driven by the internal amp. I've tried the X3 with the Q701 for example (and the 700 series tend to be picky with amps, although the Q's tipped up bass response makes that seem less of a problem) and the sound was great for a player that small. It's no Burson or Heed amplifier, but then again, there are very few portable amps that come anywhere near these.

 

I'm basing my view of the X5 on the numerous reviews here on head-fi. I would have to hold the player in my hands to fully make up my mind though. I don't think I would mind dragging and dropping at all. I have started to rip my CDs using Exact Audio Copy and checking for ID3 tags has become customary. Migrating away from iTunes would be welcome.

 

Could you please elaborate on how I could use a thumb drive to wirelessly play my music on the go? I'm under the impression that this would only work in the house. Am I correct?

 

If I could get sufficient power to drive my HiFiMAN HE-400s and my future closed-back headphones (most likely a Mad-Dog) straight out of the DAP, then I could ditch the E12 altogether.

 

Has anyone been following the Cowon Plenue P1? It looks very interesting and hopefully the price won't be too high.

 

Thanks for all the feedback so far!

post #9 of 9
Your ideal solution - get an iPod Classic 160gb and a MFI Dac/amp.

Failing that, I think the at present, iBasso has the least offensive UI compared to Fiio and Astell Kern. Damn shame that the DX90 only takes one card, though.
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